If you’re reading this in England, odds are you probably aren’t eating your minimum five recommended portions of fruit and veg a day – the country’s 2017 Health Survey found just 29% of adults are. The good news, though, is that the average intake is 3.8 portions a day, which means a bit of effort is all it needs to get the most people over the line. And if you can do that, you can keep going because the benefits don’t stop at five – oh no.
So we picked up some easily digestible tips on how to up the amount of fruit and veg in your dietfrom The Food Medic Dr Hazel Wallace, consultant dietitian Lucy Jones and Office for Health Economics economist Grace Hampson, who were all speaking at an event hosted by the British Fruit Juice Association. And here they are.
Sign Up To Meat-Free Mondays
Here’s a clever way of getting more veg on your plate: make space for it by removing something else. It’s only one day out of seven to go meat-free so it’s a pretty small step, and there are plenty of recipe ideas that can give your quota a shot in the arm – this cauliflower dhal recipe even crams a full five portions of veg into each serving.
Find What You Do Like
Even if you’ve always thought veg wasn’t to your taste, there’s got to be at least a couple you like. Eat those regularly, rather than nothing at all, and congratulate yourself on taking a step in the right direction.
Don’t Turn Your Nose Up At Frozen And Tinned Fruit And Veg
Contrary to popular belief, getting your fruit and veg from either frozen or tinned is a perfectly legit way of adding up to five. Nutritionally they’re the same, and in fact, frozen can be better because it locks the goodness in.
Buying frozen or tinned also takes the pressure off having to cook, meaning you won’t beat yourself up for letting another pack of green beans wither in the back of the crisper.
Beware tinned fruit in syrup, though, because the extra sugar defeats the point.
Drink The Right Amount Of Juice
We’re a bit wary of fruit juice here on Coach, if only because juice is rarely served in an appropriate measure. That’s 150ml in case you didn’t know, and that 150ml equates to one portion of fruit. Even if you drink more you don’t get to count extra portions, and you can only get a maximum one portion a day from all liquidised fruit and veg, so both juices and smoothies combined. We don’t make the rules, the NHS does, and it’s because juice and smoothies lack the fibre but have all the sugar.
The good news, however, is that studies have shown that drinking fruit juice in moderation has zero impact on weight gain. As we found when we asked if pasta is good for you, having more than the recommended amount of anything is bad, and that goes for juice too.
Organic Isn’t Everything
Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good. Just because fruit or veg doesn’t carry the label of organic doesn’t mean it’s to be avoided. It will still be healthy.
Go Off List
Supermarkets offers on fruit and veg will change from week to week. If you’re someone who likes a regimented list-focused shopping trip: firstly, we applaud you because supermarkets can be like the seventh circle of hell; and secondly, maybe just chuck the odd cut-price asparagus or sweet potato in as well. It’s not going to hurt.